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GMO versus non-GMO crops

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Ohio is one of the leading states planting Non-GMO crops.  GMO stands for genetically modified organisms.  About 92% of the US corn and 94% of soybeans in 2018 were genetically modified for weeds, insects, or drought tolerance.  Japan and many European countries are demanding crops that are Non-GMO, so farmers can pick up premiums by growing these crops.  Premiums vary by company, crop variety, and purity but premiums may be around $0.25 per corn bushel and $1-$2 per bushel on soybeans.

In a GMO crop, scientist identify a gene in a organism, then copy and insert that gene into a crop like corn, soybeans, potatoes, etc.  GMO crops are typically resistant to herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup with CP4 gene) or Glufosinate (Liberty Link, PAT gene).  GMO corn insecticides resistance is obtained by using up to seven genes from the Bacterium thuringiensis that produces proteins that are toxic to certain insect pests like corn rootworm, corn stalk borer, corn earworms, fall army worm and several other insect pests. 

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USDA announces listening session on impacts of COVID-19 on new farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a virtual listening session for beginning farmers and ranchers to learn how COVID-19 impacted their farming operations and to get their feedback on USDA assistance. The listening session will take place on May 6, 2021, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern time.

“We invite beginning farmers and ranchers to share their experiences in navigating USDA’s resources for assistance after the pandemic,” said Gloria Montaño Greene, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.

“We need to understand what worked well and where we can improve, while deepening our understanding of how farmers were affected by the pandemic and how they are modifying their operations,” said Mae Wu, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

Montaño Greene and Wu will be joined by Zach Ducheneaux, USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator, and Sarah Campbell, USDA’s National Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinator.

This feedback will inform USDA preparations for outreach strategies, programmatic needs, technical assistance and accessible program delivery for beginning farmers and ranchers through Pandemic Assistance for Producers.… Continue reading

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Farmers helping food banks

By Vince Hall, interim chief government relations officer at Feeding America

My father spent 30 years in the rice business and I remember driving a “bank out” wagon to transport the grain before I ever drove a car. From those rural roots I came to appreciate that farmers are the foundation of our nation’s food system, providing the nourishing foods we all need to lead healthy, happy lives. Farmers — through advocacy, fundraising and more — are also critical partners in our nation’s fight against hunger, especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today I’m proud to serve Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. Working together, in 2020 we provided a record-number of meals to our neighbors in need amid new challenges to putting food on the table: a once-in-a-generation pandemic made going to the grocery store an uncertain experience, food prices reached a 50-year high and unemployment rates rivaled those of the Great Depression.… Continue reading

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Avoid spreading SCN

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Greg Tylka, Nematologist. Photo Credit: Iowa State University

As spring planting season rolls into full force, one of the last things on a farmer’s mind is the risk of spreading Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) during planting. “Anything that spreads soil spreads nematodes,” said Greg Tylka, Iowa State University Nematologist. This includes not just tillage equipment and planters, but even tractor and implement tires. If the tires are in a field with SCN and have soil that sticks to the tires, then that soil containing SCN can be spread to another field when if falls off.

The SCN Coalition campaign, “What’s your number? Take the test. Beat the Pest.”, encourages farmers to regularly test their fields for SCN. One of the only ways to reduce the likelihood of spreading it is to be aware of what fields have it present and at what levels.

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Ohio man sentenced for stealing grain

By Jeff Lewis, Research Specialist, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program 

How often do you hear of farmers being victims of theft and a criminal on the run?  Well, last month an Ohio man was sentenced to one year in prison and 5 years of probation after stealing over $94,000 in harvested grain.  The defendant took his employer’s gravity wagon full of grain and sold it to a local co-op in Ashland County under false pretenses.  

After the theft was discovered, the defendant fled from Ohio, eventually having to be extradited from New Mexico.  This case demonstrates just how vulnerable farmers are to potential crimes.  For more information on intentional harm to farm property and your rights, check out our law bulletin.… Continue reading

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Controlling corn and soybean pests

By James Hoorman, Hoorman Soil Health Services

Controlling pests of corn and soybeans can be difficult.  Most farmers rely on seed treatments and broad-spectrum insecticides which terminate the pests but also takes out the beneficial natural predators.  The most common Ohio pests in corn and soybeans fields with cover crops are wireworm, seed corn maggot, black cutworm, true armyworm, slugs, and grubs.

Wireworms have a five-year life cycle with adults (called click beetles) laying 100-200 eggs in the spring and early summer.  Larva live in the soil until they mature into adults. Wireworms are a copper color, long, and slender. Wireworms damage corn and soybean seeds and cause seedling roots damage.

Wireworms have many natural predators including centipedes, soldier beetles, wasp which infect their eggs, and parasitic nematodes.  Metarhizium fungi are a great wireworm predator; infecting the eggs, larva, and pupae and may give up to 95% control.  Metarhizium fungi infect up to 200 insect species in 50 families including root weevils, flies, gnats, thrips, locust, grasshoppers, grubs, borers, even mosquitoes.

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Rain slows planting progress

Farmers continued fieldwork as conditions allowed, but increased precipitation as the week progressed slowed planting progress, according to Cheryl Turner, State Statistician, USDA NASS, Ohio Field Office. Topsoil
moisture conditions were rated 93 percent adequate to surplus, up 6 percentage points from the previous week.

Temperatures for the week ending May 2 averaged almost 3 degrees above historical normals, while the entire State averaged 1.17 inches of precipitation. There were 3.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 2. Snow and freezing temperatures occurred last week but nothing extremely damaging was reported. Oats were 81 percent planted and oats emerged was 54 percent. Corn planted progress was at 22 percent complete while corn emerged was at 4 percent. Soybeans planted progress was 17 percent and soybeans emerged was 4 percent; weeds were reportedly an issue in some soybean fields. Winter wheat jointing was 76 percent and the winter wheat crop was rated 81 percent good to excellent condition.… Continue reading

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Prop 12 2022 pork deadline looming large

By Matt Reese

While California consumers have demonstrated a love of pork, they have created some real challenges for U.S. pork producers. Due to a number of restrictions in the state, nearly all of the hog producers moved out of California despite the high demand for pork products.

“California is by far the largest state in the country, representing 13% of the U.S. population and about 15% of the domestic pork market,” said Michael Formica, assistant vice president and general counsel for the National Pork Producers Council. “It takes 750,000 sows to supply the California market yet only 1,500 sows are housed in the state. Most of the pork consumed in California is produced in other states.” 

With the approval of Proposition 12 in November of 2018, California voters approved a ballot measure changing production standards again, this time not just for the few remaining sow operations in the state, but for pork sold in the state.… Continue reading

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Early season crop scouting

By John Fulton and Elizabeth Hawkins

Planting is one of the critical field operations during the growing season with yield potential established and impacted once seed is placed in the soil. Uniform emergence and making sure the correct population emerges are important objectives after planting. Emergence is impacted by plant density, seed-to-soil contact within the furrow, seeding depth, soil moisture, soil temperature, seed size, seed orientation, and genetics. It is important to scout your corn and soybeans to evaluate planter performance and crop establishment. Scouting can provide valuable field-by-field insights on how planter performance affected yield potential. 

Scouting can be enhanced by using one of the several mobile applications (APPs). Not only can you take notes, these mobile applications allow you to drop geo-referenced pins and collect images at these points. Another aspect of these mobile applications is the ability to share this information with others within the farm operation or with your trusted advisor. … Continue reading

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NFU: USDA must prioritize climate change across all programs

Agriculture is uniquely positioned to mitigate climate change — but farmers need the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) support to fully realize that potential, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).

In comments submitted, the family farm organization outlined ways UDSA could better “encourage the development, adoption, and equitable delivery of climate smart practices.” While the agency already has a suite of programs that can achieve this goal, they are falling short in some respects. For one, many programs do not currently prioritize climate in their criteria, making it difficult for farmers to use them to meet climate goals on their operations. As a remedy, NFU President Rob Larew encouraged USDA to “publicly state that climate change is an urgent priority. . .and ensure programs reflect this prioritization.” Additionally, it should give precedence to applications that result in “positive soil health, carbon sequestration, and resilience outcomes in line with local climate change resource concerns.”… Continue reading

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Overholt Drainage Workshop


By Vinayak Shedekar, Ohio State University Extension

Join Ohio State University Extension for a webinar focused on drainage design, installation, and management including updates on recently passed H.B. 340 on Ohio’s “petition ditch laws” that address the installation and maintenance of drainage works of improvement in Ohio. A panel of professional engineers representing state and federal agencies, drainage contractors, and tile manufacturers will discuss some standard practices, common issues, and troubleshooting associated with drainage design, installation, and repairs.

The 2021 Overholt Drainage Workshop will be held Wednesday, June 9, 2021 9 a.m. to noon. There is no cost to attend, but registration required. (Register Here) or visit: There are CEU credits available for CCAs and Professional Engineers.… Continue reading

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New grant program to enhance Ohio’s Lake Erie water quality

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded ODA’s Division of Soil and Water Conservation a five-year, $8-million grant to assist in Ohio’s work to improve water quality in Lake Erie.

Administered by the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), the grant funding will support Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative by assisting farmers in developing nutrient management plans and conservation practices in Crawford, Erie, Huron, Marion, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, and Wyandot counties.  

Farmers in these counties can begin enrolling through their local soil & water district office in late summer. 

“Our partnership with NRCS will pave a way for Ohio to cover even greater ground in its statewide goals of clean water through Governor DeWine’s H2Ohio Initiative,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director. “Ohio is grateful for NRCS and its insight as we work together to improve water quality through proven conservation best practices.” … Continue reading

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The energy requirements for an Angus beef cow throughout her annual production cycle

By Kirsten Nickles, Graduate Research Associate and Anthony J. Parker, Associate Chair and Associate Professor. Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University

The nutritional requirements for beef cows change daily throughout their annual production cycle. The frequent change in requirements is caused by varying stages of production and environmental factors that affect the cow’s behavior and energy use. To give an example, a spring calving beef cow gestating throughout winter will have energy requirements for maintenance and gestation, and there may be further requirements for cold stress if winter climatic conditions place the cow outside her zone of thermal comfort. To appreciate how great the total net energy cost of a beef cow can be we have included the net energy requirements in Mcal/day throughout the annual production cycle of a mature 1,200-pound Angus cow with a peak milk yield (PMY) of 18 pounds. We included the requirements for maintenance, lactation, and gestation and assume this all occurs without any cold or heat stress on the cow.… Continue reading

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Hunker wins fundraising auction competition

Roger Hunker, auctioneer and Realtor of United Country Real Estate | Walton Realty & Auction Co, LLC in Bellevue is the 2020 winner of the Fundraiser Auction Competition held by United Country Auction Services. He completed the most benefit/fundraiser auctions in 2020. 

Hunker, along with his companies Breeders World and BW Final Drive, conducted over 40 benefit auctions for numerous livestock organizations, FFA, 4-H, local community foundations and some local community members throughout the United States. These online auctions totaled over 7,500 lots covering over a dozen states.

“It is so rewarding to be able to give back to the organizations that helped me as a young person.” Hunker said. 

The United Country | Auction Services Fundraising Competition was created to recognize and promote the tremendous amount of charitable auctions conducted each year by United Country affiliates and auctioneers. Benefit and charity auctions have a long history in the world of auctioneering.… Continue reading

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Small ruminant production and management position open at OSU

The Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University has launched a search for a nine-month, tenure-track faculty member at the assistant professor rank in Small Ruminant Production and Management to begin in the Autumn 2021 semester or when a suitable candidate is found. All application materials must be received before an application will be considered. The anticipated position split will be 80% Extension and 20% research.

Applicants should possess a sound basis in fundamental science, but preference will be given to applicants with interests in small ruminants including sheep and goats. Duties of the position include, but are not limited to, the following: developing educational materials and programs in conjunction with OSU Extension professionals for educating and training sheep and goat producers and conducting applied research on small ruminant production and management. In addition, the position will assist with youth livestock program areas as assigned in coordination with Animal Sciences faculty/staff members and OSU Extension professionals who provide leadership for 4-H programs; assists faculty and staff in undergraduate student recruitment as required; assists with departmental involvement in agricultural and animal industry events; partners with Extension specialists, Extension educators and program assistants, and other educational organizations, agencies, and volunteers in the state and region in programmatic endeavors.… Continue reading

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Early weed control, bumping seed rate could pay big dividends

By Dave Nanda, Ph.D., Director of Genetics for Seed Genetics Direct

Dave Nanda

I favor early planting if the ground is ready. However, earlier planting also requires early weed control. I saw several fields last year where weed control was not very effective, perhaps due to too much rain. Is early weed control necessary? Yes, because the micro-environment of each plant is very important for their ability to reach maximum yield potential. Plants sense early on if they have competition from weeds or other crop plants, and they start to react and plan their future accordingly. If growers can reduce pressure from weeds, it will encourage crops to produce more yield. 

It is especially important to control weeds early so herbicide-resistant weeds won’t get started. Many weeds, such as marestail and waterhemp, have developed resistance to glyphosate herbicide because it was used on millions of acres of corn and soybeans. Genetic and chemical suppliers promoted the use of glyphosate in spite of warnings by many university scientists and crop consultants.… Continue reading

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Prices and weather… weather and prices

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

May corn prices blew past $6, and then a few days later $6.50. Additionally, May futures gained on July futures by almost 10 cents this last week, which is huge, because in a normal week in a normal year a 1-cent move on that spread in a weeks’ time would be a big deal. Basis values across the US also increased another 5 cents this week. These are clear indications that the market is begging for corn and is unable to find it.

How much corn is left to sell by farmers?

The last USDA WASDE report showed on-farm cash corn prices unchanged at $4.30 from the March report, suggesting most farmers already priced the majority of their 2020 crop at lower values compared to today’s prices. Plus, elevator mangers across the Midwest are telling me that a lot of corn was sold around $4 futures and then most farmers sold another big portion of their production again in November when prices hit $4.50.… Continue reading

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Forecasting weather challenges ahead

By Jim Noel, NOAA

There are challenges ahead so we will break them into short-term and long-term.


The recent snow was a rare event for the amount that fell across Ohio. However, the minimum temperatures in the 20s and 30s was not that far off of normal for last freeze conditions for Ohio.

The strongest typhoon ever in the northern hemisphere occurred east of the Philippines last week and this energy will come across parts of North America over the next week. When that happens weather model performance often drops. Hence, if you see more bouncing around of forecasts the next 10-15 days that may be one reason why.

We have a big warm-up the first half of this week ahead of a strong storm that will move through Ohio the second half of the week with wind and rain. We could see anywhere from 0.50 inches to over 2 inches across Ohio later this week but placement is not certain and seems to favor central and southern Ohio with the highest amounts.… Continue reading

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